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Presidential poll: Surprised opposition to meet on June 22

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Opposition

New Delhi, June 19 : After the BJP on Monday named Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind as the NDA’s presidential candidate, the opposition — taken by surprise — hesitated to question his credentials but said it will hold a meeting on June 22 to chalk out its strategy.

Opposition leaders have agreed to attend the June 22 meeting, to be chaired by Congress President Sonia Gandhi to take a final decision on the July 17 presidential election, senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said here.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee expressed surprise over the name and said that “in order to support someone, we must know the person”.

“Candidate should be someone who will be beneficial for the country. The opposition will meet on June 22 — only then we can announce our decision,” she said.

Sulking BJP ally Shiv Sena too indicated its unhappiness, saying it was not consulted on the candidate.

The nomination of Kovind, a Dalit leader, by the Bharatiya Janata Party appeared to have put the opposition in a quandary as the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) said it cannot oppose the NDA candidate unless the opposition puts up a popular Dalit candidate.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar hailed Kovind’s role as state Governor but remained non-committal on supporting him.

Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Sitaram Yechury said Kovind “was chief of the RSS’s Dalit branch” and “somewhere it was a political fight or contest”.

Azad also accused the BJP of “unilateralism” but did not say whether or not the opposition will field a candidate for the July 17 contest.

“So far as the National Democratic Alliance nominee is concerned, the Congress has nothing to say on the merits or demerits. All the opposition parties had collectively decided on evolving a consensus on the Presidential candidate when leaders of 18 parties met,” Azad said.

“We had full hope that before announcing they will discuss some names. They did inform us but only after they had decided on the name,” he said and termed the outreach by the BJP as a “formality”.

Mayawati, in her remarks to the media, said: “We are not against Kovind’s nomination… As he is a Dalit, we can’t oppose his name, but only if the united opposition doesn’t announce a popular Dalit name.”

Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut told media persons in Mumbai that BJP President Amit Shah called up Sena President Uddhav Thackeray after announcing Kovind’s name and sought his support.

Thackeray said he will call a Sena meeting before taking a final call. Thackeray told Shah on Sunday that the Sena will take a decision after the BJP announces the candidate.

Banerjee said senior BJP leaders L.K. Advani or Sushma Swaraj could have been made candidates.

“The President’s is a key post. Someone of the stature of Pranab Mukherjee, or even Sushma Swaraj or Advani-ji, may have been made the candidate,” she said.

Nitish Kumar called on Kovind in Patna and said he is “personally glad” over his candidature, but was non-commital on Janata Dal-United’s support to his candidature.

“Kovind has discharged his duties as Bihar Governor in an unbiased manner. He has worked as per the Constitution and upheld the dignity of the Governor’s post. His was an ideal relationship with the state government,” Nitish Kumar said.

As to whether the JD-U will support his candidature, Nitish Kumar said they will discuss the issue later and decide.

Sonia Gandhi had taken the initiative to forge a consensus on the opposition’s candidate for the presidential poll.

The opposition parties had formed a sub-committee to select a candidate but decided not to come up with a name till there was clarity about the choice of the ruling alliance.

Election

Madhya Pradesh By-Polls: Set back to BJP, Congress bags 20 wards of 24 in Raghogarh

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Bhopal, Jan 20: The Congress party showcased an enthusiastic fight in the Madhya Pradesh civil polls by clinching nine president posts in 19 civic bodies on Saturday, tying the Bharatiya Janata Party, which too, won nine top posts. 

Meanwhile, giving a major setback to the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Congress bagged 20 out of 24 wards in Raghogarh Nagar by-elections. Whereas the BJP won only four wards.

However , the Congress has been in control of the Raghogarh-Vijaypur Municipal Council for the last two decades.

The results are seen as a morale boost for the Congress as the party is planning to go all out against the BJP in the upcoming assembly elections , which slated to held later this year.

Municipal Council elections took place on January 17 in Five districts – Dhar, Barwani, Khandwa, Guna, and Anuppur.

The counting of votes begun at 9 am and ended in the afternoon.

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EVMs to have candidates’ pictures

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Jaipur, Jan 19: The Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) will carry pictures of candidates along with their names — when by-elections are held in Rajasthan on January 29.

According to Chief Election Officer Ashvini Bhagat, this has been done to ensure there was no confusion if there were two candidates with the same name.

According to the new arrangement, the EVMs will have the name of the candidate, his or her picture and the election symbol.

Bhagat said although this experiment was done in the Dholpur Assembly by-election, it hasn’t been done anywhere in a Lok Sabah election.

Lok Sabha by-polls are scheduled in Ajmer and Alwar on January 29 while Assembly elections will be held the same day in Mandalgarh.

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Assembly elections: Tripura to vote on Feb 18, Meghalaya, Nagaland on Feb 27; results on March 3

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New Delhi, Jan 18: The Election Commission on Thursday announced  the schedule for Meghalaya, Tripura and Nagaland assembly elections. 

While addressing a press conference, Chief Election Commissioner AK Joti said Tripura will vote on February 18, 2017. While polling in Meghalaya and Nagaland will take place on February 27 (Tuesday).

Counting for all the three states will be conducted on March 3, 2018. The results will be declared on the same day.

A total strength of  the three assemblies is 60 members each.

Election to the three states to be held in two rounds.

The term of the Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura legislative assemblies will end on March 6, March 13 and March 14 respectively.

Announcing the poll schedule, Chief Election Commissioner informed  VVPATs and EVMs will be used in the three states for the very first time.

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